This 5-year renewal proposal for the National Summer School in Nuclear
Physics recommends continuation of the annual series begun in 1988. This
school has been very successful in providing experimental and theoretical
graduate students and beginning postdocs with a perspective of nuclear physics
as a research field. The main purpose of the school is to help young researchers
gain broader exposure to the major themes of our field. This is important
both for researchers in small university groups, which may have few opportunities
for learning about nuclear physics broadly, and those at major laboratories,
where the nuclear physics may be primarily of one "flavor."
Some changes in the school's
governance are proposed: 1) We ask that funding be sufficient to allow smaller
university groups to organize schools: previously the requirement that the
host institution cover all lecturer costs made this difficult. 2) In spring,
1999, the Division of Nuclear Physics of the APS agreed to make the school's
steering committee one of its standing committees. This step will help the
steering committee remain broadly representative of the community.
The PIs will administer the
grant through the Institute for Nuclear Theory (INT). The INT remains willing
to help organizers with school administration, as desired. This includes
producing a poster, handling mailing, and maintaining data bases.
2. Motivation and History
The challenge of broadly educating young researchers is a daunting one
for fields like nuclear physics. Some of our research groups are small. Others
may focus on a particular subfield, often because this enhances the overall
impact of the group. The field's evolution towards larger facilities means
more students work in a user mode, often spending long periods at a national
laboratory where one subfield may be emphasized. Thus the student may have
very few opportunities to interact with students or senior researchers from
subfields other than his own.
Under these conditions students
can go through graduate training and postdoctoral experience without developing
clear ideas of the important outstanding questions in nuclear physics outside
of their specialty. Yet there are broad physics themes and important techniques
that do unite our field: a student with too limited a perspective is unlikely
to understand this unity or to maximize his personal scientific development.
The experimental physicist must know what properties of nuclear and hadronic/electromagnetic/weak
interactions are most significant to measure in order to further knowledge
in nuclear physics or in other fields that require nuclear physics input.
The theoretical student must appreciate better the important criteria for
useful models, the significance of reported measurements, and the relevance
of nuclear physics to sister fields, such as particle physics, astrophysics,
and condensed matter physics.
In Europe, the summer school
has proven to be a very successful way to broaden the perspective of students.
There are regular schools at Varenna, Italy; at Erice, Italy; and many NATO
sponsored schools, including the one at Les Houches, France. The UK Nuclear
Physics Summer School and the Nordic Nuclear Physics Summer School are held
regularly, and the Finish Summer School often has a strong nuclear component.
The Euro Summer School on Exotic Beams is held in Leuven. In Eastern Europe,
there are regular schools in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Elsewhere,
the Brazilian Andre Swieca Physics Summer School is primarily focused on
nuclear physics, while the ANU Australian Summer School often has a strong
In this country the NSF has sponsored
regular advanced schools in the 1960's, an ad hoc nuclear physics school
in 1978 and 1981, and several series since 1983. In particular, in 1988,
a community group - which included the PIs of this proposal and some members
of the current steering committee - began the current series. Initially it
was supported year-by-year with volunteer organizers, who had little administrative
support. The difficulty of this mode of operation contributed to the failure
of the 1994 effort.
It was then that the steering
committee, with a strong endorsement from the Executive Committee of the
Division of Nuclear Physics, opened discussions with the NSF and INT to provide
more stability to the school. The NSF agreed to provide a 5-year grant to
support participant costs at the school. The INT agreed to administer the
grant at no cost and to provide administrative support to school organizers:
poster production, mailing, data base services, etc. The INT also agreed
to act as a back-up host for the school, if no other volunteer could be found,
and to provide supplementary funding to any schools held in the Seattle area
(provided by the UW Physics Department's Uehling Fund). The INT hosted the
1995 and 1996 schools and is renewing the above commitments for the lifetime
of the present proposal.
In recent years there have been
ad hoc schools in nuclear physics organized by CEBAF (annually) and by Brookhaven
(1998). (No BNL school is scheduled for 1999.) These schools are sponsored
by the host laboratories and focus on research issues relevant to those laboratories.
There has also been an annual school at TRIUMF, but it was discontinued in
3. Requirements of the school
There are a number of important considerations to produce a successful
advanced study school. First, one needs the best lecturers from the field.
Second, the school needs a corps of students who have prospects for research
careers and are at the appropriate level to develop a perspective of the
field of nuclear physics as a whole. Third, the format of the school must
allow enough time for the students to reflect on the material presented and
to have thoughtful conversations among themselves and with the lecturers.
It is important that the school be held in an attractive setting. The top
researchers in a field are much more willing to serve as lecturers, if the
environment is pleasant and conducive to informal discussion. This is a major
feature in the success of the European schools. If the setting is nice, it
not only attracts good lecturers, but also encourages them to stay for longer
periods. The sites, organizers, and lecturers for the current series are
Another environmental requirement
of the school is that the students and lecturers have many opportunities
to interact informally as well as in the lecture hall. An isolated setting
with housing and meals taken together provides the ideal in this respect.
This can be achieved with a conference center in a vacation location, such
as the 1996 Pack Forest site near Mt. Rainier. Schools held on university
campuses can also meet the conditions, if careful arrangements are made.
For example, separate living and dining quarters were provided by UC Santa
Cruz for the 1990 school.
Recent National Nuclear Physics
Summer Schools tried to achieve these site goals while, at the same time,
encouraging a variety of universities and individuals to take on the role
of organizer. At times, these two goals require a compromise: one role of
the steering committee is to use its experience to optimize such choices.
The first school of the new
5-year grant period (2000) has been approved by the steering committee. It
will be organized by Wick Haxton and Larry McLerran at UC Santa Cruz. This
is an example of a site that provides, at reasonable cost, a somewhat rural
setting with common dining and housing facilities.
3.2 Lecture format
Previous schools have been successful with the following format, which
we propose to continue. The school is held for a 12-day period, with lectures
on weekday mornings. Students arrive Sunday afternoon and depart midday Friday.
This allows five to seven lecturers to participate, taking about 4 lectures
apiece. At this pace, the lecture material is presented in a way that can
be genuinely useful to someone learning the subject. The students also have
an opportunity to deliver seminars on their own research. These sessions,
which have proven very popular, are organized and chaired by the students,
a choice that promotes discussion.
The school attendance will
be limited to no more than 50. This number is only partly dictated by space
and financing limitations. The number cannot be made much higher and still
preserve an informal and lively atmosphere, in which the participants ask
questions and take part in the discussion. With 50 students each year, there
are also enough places that no nuclear physics graduate students near completing
their Ph.D.s would need to be excluded.
3.3 The students
The school can only accomplish its purpose if it is attended by students
capable of becoming career researchers in nuclear physics. An important part
of the organization of the school has to be the recruitment of these individuals.
It is essential that the organizer of the school, members of the steering
committee, and the grant PIs make strong personal efforts to recruit students
by bringing the school to the attention of their colleagues throughout the
country. Other mechanisms for recruiting include a poster (which is sent
to both individuals and research groups and universities) and advertisements
in the Division of Nuclear Physics newsletter (both hard copy and emailed
to the membership), in the DOE DNP Monthly Activities Report, in Nuclear
Physics News (the European newsletter), and in the INT's newsletter.
Students can only be expected
to attend if their travel costs are covered. In past schools, cost sharing
between the school and the research group of the student's home university
worked out well to support the participants. With some contribution to the
support from home institutions, only students who are regarded by their professors
as ready for the advanced school will be encouraged to attend. Typically
the NSF grant has provided about 75% of local student costs, with the remainder
plus the travel costs coming from the student's research group/university.
3.4 Modifications for 2000-2004
A number of steps have been taken to improve the school during the next
five years (2000-2004). These are summarized in the following:
a) To help the steering committee
remain broadly representative of the nuclear physics community, it has been
taken under the wing of the Executive Committee of the DNP. As a DNP standing
committee, new members will be chosen by the Executive Committee. The steering
committee consists of eight regular members serving four-year terms, plus
the grant PI. (Barrett will take this duty for 2000-2004.) Thus the Executive
Committee will replace two members each year, generally choosing as replacements
one experimentalist and one theorist.
Each year the steering committee
will elect from among its first- and second-year members a vice-chair, who
will become chair and past-chair in successive years.
b) To provide a longer lead
time for organizing future schools, the steering committee will choose new
organizers and sites two years in advance of the school. This procedure was
put into effect this past year: the Haxton/McLerran proposal has been accepted
A request for new proposals,
which are received by the steering committee chair, has appeared in INT's
February newsletter for the past five years. In future years we intend to
use the DNP newsletter as well. Recruiting efforts by members of the steering
committee are also very important and effective.
c) The INT has constructed
a web site to advertise the school and to serve as a collective memory for
the community (http://int.phys.washington.edu/NPSS/NPSS.html). It includes
a summary of the school's procedures, the 1995-99 NSF proposal, the programs
of the past schools (1988-98), the history of the steering committee, and
information for organizers. In addition, it contains the poster for the current
school. We will soon post the final reports for the 1995-99 schools.
d) The INT will endeavor to
put convenient software in place so that lecture notes and/or transparencies
can be scanned onto the home page. This will allow students to refer back
to the lectures they have heard and may allow nonstudents to make use of
the lecture materials.
We do not plan to ask lecturers
to write up their talks. This is a large undertaking and would diminish our
ability to attract the best lecturers, who are often very busy.
e) Good sites and organizers
were found for the 1995-8 schools: The University of Washington (Seattle)
(1995); the Pack Forest retreat (Mt. Rainier) (1996); Yale University (1997);
and Gull Lake (1998). The 1995-99 NSF proposal required the host institution
to cover the costs of the speakers in addition to ancillary costs, such as
a reception, weekend outings, local secretarial support, etc. The speaker
costs can range up to $10K. As very few smaller groups can afford this expense,
it is not surprising that the volunteer hosts for the 1995-8 (Seattle, Yale,
MSU) were larger University groups.
In 1999 an attractive site
(UC San Diego) was found, but the organizer, George Fuller, is a single investigator.
He agreed to organize the school only after the NSF expressed its willingness
to provide supplemental support.
We believe the 1999 school
has to be the model for the next five years. It will make the National Nuclear
Physics Summer School a true community activity, allowing both small and
large groups to act as organizers. It will increase the number of attractive
sites and good organizers that the Steering Committee can choose among.
4. Leadership and oversight
of the schools
4.1 The organizer
It is clear that a well-organized school requires a lot of work and effort
by some individual. This is the designated organizer of the school. He/she
prepares the program of lecturers (subject to the approval of the steering
committee), selects the students to attend, and manages the day-to-day activities
of the school. The organizer also has the main responsibility for recruitment
of students. (If requested, the organizer will be assisted by one of the
experienced workshop coordinators of the INT, who will handle correspondence,
do financial projections, prepare and mail the poster, handle advertising,
and answer any travel or visa questions.) The organizer will be chosen by
the steering committee from community volunteers, as described previously.
4.2 Steering committee
The new procedures for the steering committee - including the role of the
DNP - has been described earlier. The current and past membership of the
steering committee are: